Rooted in respect for traditional Cajun music, Zachary had new ideas for where the genre could take him. He wanted to contribute to the growth of the culture while still honoring its exuberant spirit. After 40 years of singing and songwriting, Zachary reflects on the impact of his bold choices.
“What I really want to do is write songs that touch people and make them dance, but also make them cry, laugh and feel something. That’s what I try to do as a songwriter.”
“There’s always been an ambivalent relationship with myself and the tradition with the purist. I always wanted to take the tradition and bring it someplace. I didn’t want to play music like I heard it. I wanted to take it, modify it and revive it to breathe my own spirit into it. A lot of people didn’t like that and that’s ok. But that’s what I tried to do in the spirit of creating something.”
“The tradition is so powerful that it’s not easy to do that. It’s not easy to write another song like ‘la porte arrière’. So that’s been a real challenge for me just in terms of the perception of myself as an artist and how people appreciate what I do.”
“But I wouldn’t change it, I don’t regret a thing. It’s just the path that I followed and it’s a path that few people, if any, have followed in the way that I have.”
“I hope that I contributed something to the tradition and to the musical culture of Louisiana, North America and to the world that has enriched somebody in someplace. If that’s case, and I’m pretty sure it is, then I feel satisfied.”